I’m at an age where you find yourself convinced that the current generation of teenagers is just plain lazy and shiftless. Friends who are parents complain about the bad attitude and refusal to do homework, or chores. “I certainly wasn’t like that when I was that age,” I hear. Or, “I knew the meaning of hard work, and consequences.” Of course, this generation is like every generation of teenagers, yes, lazy, shiftless, and sloppy. I was not without fault as a teenager. My parents complained about my attitude daily, “You’re never home. You’re too involved with school activities. You’re simply trying to avoid facing your emotions.” My response was, “And…”
One thing that my generation had that the unfortunate teens of today do not was the plethora of message television movies. There were the ABC Afterschool Specials, and other films that gave us clear moral lessons. Dawn, Portrait of a Teenage Runaway with Jan Brady, Eve Plumb, made it clear to me that running away to Hollywood would result in forced prostitution and trips to the VD clinic. Sarah T. Portrait of a Teenage Alcoholic made it plain that riding your horse on Pacific Coast Highway drunk is a bad idea. Nobody over 40 will dismiss the emotional impact of The Loneliest Runner. This was a true story based on Michael Landon’s bedwetting issues. As a fourteen year old he ran home from school every day to retrieve the wet sheet his mother hung from his bedroom window to punish him. Like Carrie covered in blood, we all share the seminal image of the wet sheets hanging out of the house window to dry, humiliating the young Michael Landon.